Tuning in vs. Turning off
Director of Standards and Technology, Consumer Electronics Industry
The CEO of a national products and services company suggested this individual could benefit from working with Andrea. The individual was skeptical of the value a coach could bring to his professional development, but after meeting with Andrea, he had a very different understanding of the coaching process. It was quickly clear to the individual that his adversarial relationships with his colleagues were jeopardizing his ability to be effective in the workplace. His passionate viewpoints and willful defense of those views often left others feeling like there was little room for dialogue. The goal of the coaching was to understand his actions from a behavioral perspective, and create a new set of behaviors that would support this individual’s professional success.
Taking a Hard Look
This client was very aware of the fact that his behavior in meetings got him into trouble. He approached most meetings as a time to show that he in fact had the answers and solutions to any given situation or problem. Over the years, this individual had tried many self-help approaches to changing his behavior, but none of them created lasting shifts in his behavior. He knew that if the work with Andrea was going to create meaningful lifelong change, he would have to buy into the process and make it a daily priority. Together, he and Andrea deconstructed his “behavior” and analyzed the patterns and underlying causes. Although difficult, it was extremely helpful to realize that while most colleagues recognized that he was usually the smartest person in a meeting, his manner was condescending and argumentative. Bluntly put, it was hard for this individual to establish and maintain working relationships that weren’t adversarial.
Although the client’s viewpoints were valid, the way he presented them left his peers frustrated and often led to stressful encounters. Andrea worked with him on his ability to listen to other viewpoints, and staying open to other’s suggestions. For example, in meetings with colleagues, the individual began expressing his opinions, and explaining that he would always be willing to share his ideas and opinions, but he wasn’t going to force his points or over-argue them. This approach relieved him of feeling the pressure of “holding” all the answers, and gave him permission to not have to win every battle. During those first few months, this individual made a commitment to calling Andrea before a meeting to run through his approach, and would debrief with her afterwards.
Is This Something Andrea Would Approve Of?
After four months of intense coaching, this individual could feel and see the results of his hard work. His new approach to meetings included stating his opinion, followed by being quiet and open to questions. The effect was dramatic! Colleagues wondered what happened to him. Why had he changed, and would it last? Now, a year later, he asks himself one question before a meeting: “Is this something Andrea would approve of?” This simple question keeps him focused and prevents him from escalating a situation. While he’s not perfect, and will occasionally stray from his newfound approach, he knows that he’s gone off the path, and addresses it immediately. His work with Andrea was manifold and is ever-present in his daily life well worth the investment.
Client quote, “Working with Andrea was the best thing I’ve done for myself. Her coaching helped me see how I was getting in my own way. I realized that when I changed the way I approached others, things went much more smoothly and I felt better, calmer, and more satisfied with my life.“